IFComp 2009: “Snowquest”

This is a game from the 2009 IFComp.

Another “snow” game. This one caught my eye when I was scanning
titles, mostly because Eric Eve is a long-time competitor and
community member, who exhibits technical talent at the least and
usually a respectable level of craft as well.

What seemed an error in description set me on the wrong path; I was
expecting to have to get to the tree to detach the broken branch, not
find it already on the ground. However, from there on the first puzzle
was fairly reasonable, as were most of the subsequent puzzles (I didn’t get what was going on with the crystal window at all).

Structurally I found this game problematic: the extended dream
sequence the first night, the flashback the second morning… it’s an
alternative to textdumping, but it does much to break up the narrative
flow. Of course the narrative flow as a whole slides off the rails
later.

In terms of assessment, I find this game moderately problematic:
like this comp’s other “Snow” game, it’s narratively disjointed, well
written, technically polished, and makes some dubious design
decisions. Unlike “Duel”, it actually has a resolution, although the
resolution feels, in some ways, rather trifling, and the twist near
the end introduces more questions than it answers. This is definitely
a satisfactory game on many levels: as Eve’s record predicts, what it
does it does well. But in the end it feels like several decent ideas
stapled clumsily together: the dream-sequence-as-metaphor-for-reality
(which manages to go two levels deep, with some of the metaphors in
the third level not even existing in the first) is a bit overused, and
the hardboiled who-to-trust narrative seems to be from a rather
different genre.

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About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

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